LiverpoolLiverpool Weekend

Liverpool Weekend (Day Two) – Tate Liverpool (Broadway by Ellsworth Kelly)


Whilst accepting that it’s easy to sneer and be negative, I really struggle to see what this artwork by Ellsworth Kelly (1923-2015) offers and how it’s relevant in the Tate Liverpool. In reality, obviously I’m completely wrong insomuch that Kelly sold hundreds of artworks and was an important figure in the artistic world, well, if Wikipedia can be trusted on this. I can find the painting mentioned only once in the media, when in 1970 the Surrey Advertiser (a bastion of art journalism) commented that “it’s a work on which opinions still vary”.

The gallery description reads:

“This painting, one of a series that developed from a small black and white study, is called after the famous avenue in New York. Here the red form can also be read as a ‘broad way’ receding into the distance, Kelly having cropped the edges of the rectangle to imply perspective. At the same time it appears absolutely flat. Asserting the real, flat nature of painting has been one of Kelly’s central concerns. He achieves this here without sacrificing effects of space. The picture plane suggests at once flatness and three dimensions. Other works in the series are titled Wall after New York’s Wall Street and ‘North River,’ another name for New York’s Hudson River.”

The artist wrote about the work:

“My original intention was to paint a larger black and white “Wall”, but it came out red”.

So this painting of near solid red wasn’t even meant to be red. This is all beyond me and I’ve now spent ten minutes writing about it all, so perhaps I’m more interested in the artwork that I had realised. Indeed, maybe I’ll be inspired to create my own red artwork.